James W. Andrews helped to save Willie F. Bassett from suffocation, Salt Lake City, Utah, June 10, 1960. Willie, 10, climbed onto a pile of sand 32 feet high and slid into a funnel-shaped hole created by a conveyor operating beneath the pile and leading to an asphalt plant. Unable to get our of the hole, which was about 10 feet deep, he called for help as he was drawn downward in the sand toward the conveyor. Another boy reported the situation to Andrews, 28, asphalt plant foreman, who was working near the pile. He ordered the conveyor shut off, called other workmen to help, and made his way to the hole in the sand pile. Only the top of Willie’s head then was visible. Andrews descended to the bottom of the hole, where it was three feet in diameter, and sat down with his back against the highest side to hold back sliding sand. Donald David Sevey, another workman, then arrived and also entered the hole. Meanwhile the conveyor had been shut off. To prevent a cave-in, other workmen were warned not to get too close to the hole. Andrews and Sevey scooped sand away from Willie with their hands as the other men began digging sand from the lowest side of the hole. By the time Andrews and Sevey had uncovered the head and shoulders of Willie, who was conscious, police and firemen had arrived. A police sergeant entered the hole to assist Andrews and Sevey, and the three men uncovered Willie to his waist. They then attempted without success to pull him free. As they renewed their digging, the conveyor was turned on briefly, causing more sand to cave into the hole. Willie was drawn into the sand to his mouth, and the three men were covered to lesser degrees. They freed themselves and again began digging, Andrews still bracing himself against the highest wall of the hole and Sevey curling his body protectively around Willie’s head. Despite sand sliding to the bottom of the hole from the sides, they soon uncovered the head of Willie, who still was conscious. Several planks were lowered into the hole and placed against the side toward which the other workmen were digging. Andrews, Sevey, and the sergeant continued scooping sand from around Willie, uncovering him to his knees. About an hour after he had entered the hole, Willie was pulled from the sand and taken out at the side, which the other workmen had lowered by digging.
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